Are you ready for some international rivalries, more coverage of swimming and track and field than ever, and Bob Costas solemnly intoning about the history of countries you’ve never heard of?
I am. I love the Olympics. Love, love, love ’em. I know there’s cheaters who win gold medals, I know they’re too big, too loud, too … modern. But I love that once every four years I care about the 200-meter dash, and sports like water polo and team handball (which is very cool to watch on TV, by the way), and fall in love with athletes who I won’t see again for another four years.
This year, I’m pumped about Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte, Usain Bolt amazing us all again, and if the latest version of the “Dream Team” basketball squad can be beat (I say yes, they can.)
As the festivities kick off tonight from England (where I believe Mitt Romney will be elected prime minster, I present two famously happy Olympic clips, and one Olympian from 2012 you should definitely root for:
The first clip (below) is one of the most famous in the history of the Olympics. And, just because I haven’t seen it in a while, here’s Kerri Strug with one of the most courageous vaults we’ve ever seen…
**Next, you may have heard the story of the Runner Without A Country, and it’s a very inspiring one. Guor Marial (above) is a 28-year-old marathoner who escaped the Sudan as a teenager, after being kidnapped at gunpoint at age 8, placed in a labor camp, and saw 28 members of his family get killed during Sudan’s brutal civil war.
Upon moving to the U.S., Marial grew up in New Hampshire, and slowly became a top runner. He made the Olympic qualifying time needed to compete this year, but his home “country” is now South Sudan, which as a new nation does not yet have standing in the Olympics.
After much back and forth about what could be done, the IOC this week decided to allow Marial to compete as an independent runner.
He’ll compete for his new nation, and for all of us who believe in the Olympics as a chance for everyone.
**And finally, another Olympics clip you’ve seen before, this one more recent than Kerri Strug’s vault. The incredible comeback of U.S. swimmer Jason Lezak in the 4×100 relay, allowing Michael Phelps to keep his hopes of eight gold medals alive. Love the excitement in Dan Hickman’s voice on the broadcast… a truly great moment (the good stuff starts at around the 3-minute mark).